The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven

R. Po‐chia Hsia

in A Jesuit in the Forbidden City

Published in print October 2010 | ISBN: 9780199592258
Published online January 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191595622 | DOI:
The True Meaning of the Lord of Heaven

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This chapter is a detailed analysis of the major text written by Ricci. The Tianzhu shiyi is a text that represented Ricci's life work in China: it included actual conversations between Ricci and Chinese scholars over the years, and the latter's questions and objections to Christianity; it offered Ricci's critique of Buddhism, its doctrines and its practise of vegetarianism and non‐killing; and it proffers textual proofs from the ancient Chinese classics, which Ricci interpreted as prefiguring the truth of Christianity. In this work, Ricci advocated a view followed by later generations of Jesuit missionaries: that the truth of a monotheistic god was known to the ancient Chinese sages, whose moral precepts were similar to Christian ethics; and that this ancient truth was subverted by the introduction of Buddhism and by subsequent distortion in neo‐Confucian learning.

Keywords: Confucian classics; Tianzhu shiyi; vegetarianism; monotheism; religious dialogue

Chapter.  9217 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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